Greek salad became extremely popular during the eighties and onwards. Not only in Europe, in Australia and America, our hard-working diaspora opened thousands of Greek tavernas, some of which are quite expensive and even gourmet. There are Greek restaurants even in Japan and from what I hear, they are extremely popular among Japanese people and tourists.
I must point out, Greek cuisine has the least carb domination compared to any other Mediterranean cuisine. The Italians play around all kinds of pasta and pizza crust, Even the wonderful Prosciutto and Mozzarella are placed on a bruschetta… the beauty is ruined by toasted bread! French use way too much pastry (Croissant) and all kinds of bread. They thicken the sauces with flour (Béchamel), while Spanish use a lot of rice (Paella) and potatoes (Spanish Tortilla, not to be confused with the Mexican version which is also carb-loaded). I am not saying these countries don’t have a delicious and attractive cuisine. I am just saying that of them all, Greek gastronomy is most friendly to Keto and Low-carb cooking. Especially if you are willing to make the necessary adjustments. How about the ingredients? Take the Goat feta cheese, for example, it comes with 0% carbs – believe it or not! Olives, goat yoghurt, lamb, seafood, green vegetables, spices… The list goes on. I am sure every cuisine can be adjusted, but with the Greek – you’ll have the least of changes to apply.
The glory of Horiatiki Salata
Before I continue, I wanted to share with you a blog post written by the above-mentioned Greek diaspora member. I had a good laugh reading this blog, but I totally agree with every word said! A Greek salad is not Greek if it contains lettuce, cow’s milk cheese and low-quality olive oil/olives. In fact, anything low-quality simply must be excluded!
What isn’t acceptable is to use any Feta cheese that contains cow’s milk. It’s a sin, it’s not really Feta and you’re just short of eating cottage cheese. Use a Feta cheese that’s made in Greece with goat, sheep or a combo of both these milks to make the Feta. Perfectly aware that not everyone lives in a part of the country with Greeks and therefore no Greek deli or market, then look for a domestic Feta that at least is made of goat or sheep’s milk. NO COW’S MILK FETA!
Fitting it into the Keto macros
We all know by now, a tomato is a fruit! Loaded with sugar you might guess. Is it? Well, let’s see the macros:
If we want to keep our portion within Keto macros, we will use only one medium tomato. That’s all you need! Tomato, organic and riped, smells divine and will take over the main voice in the harmonious symphony of Greek Horiatiki salad. No need to use more than one!
The rest of the ingredients have to be organic too! We don’t want to eat plastic, artificial salad. Try to find a firmer cucumber and wash it well. Don’t peel it, just wash it thoroughly and cut into 3-millimetre slices. Bell peppers are usually added and most of the Greek tavernas will serve green bell pepper. Slice it very thin or cut it into 1,5 cm pieces. You will need only half of one bell pepper to keep the salad within Keto macros.
The saga about onion
Ketonians should not eat vegetables that grow under the ground. An old proverb or the rule? However, if we see all the health benefits of good old onion, we should not be so strict. The original Greek salad calls for crispy and sweet red onion. However, this variety is the sweetest of them all and will ruin our Keto-macros. So, I recommend using the white onion which is known to have less sugar. Of course, you will not consume more than half, and this recipe makes two servings. Therefore, it’s going to be 1/4 of onion per person. This will keep the carbs, or let’s say the natural sugar – under control!
Why the Kalamata olives?
It’s not only about the tradition and looks. Kalamata olives might be the healthiest olives you can find on earth. If you ever travel to the Kalamata area, you will understand why the land in this Peloponnesian area is perfect for olive growing! At this point, I would like to give credit to a fellow nutrition educator Michael Joseph who wrote an amazing article about Kalamata olives. It’s simple, don’t use any other olives if you want to have the authentic Greek salad on your table! Thanks to the exporting industry, Kalamata olives are widely available around the globe.
Keto Greek salad
Preparation time: 12 minutes
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/2 white onion
- 12 Kalamata olives
- 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (Greek!)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 80g Goat feta cheese
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- Wash the tomato, bell pepper and cucumber
- Cut the tomato and bell pepper into 1,5 cm pieces and slice the cucumber into 3 mm slices (No need to peel)
- Clean and cut 1/2 white onion (or slice)
- Place the vegetables with the olives in a mixing bowl and mix them with a spoon. Now sprinkle with sea salt
- Place the vegetables on your serving plate and pour in the olive oil all over the salad
- Place the piece of goat feta on top and sprinkle with oregano.
- Sprinkle some extra olive oil on top of the cheese
- Enjoy a real Greek salad and try to pronounce it as Greek: χωριάτικη σαλάτα choriatiki salata [xorˈjatici saˈlata]